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Downtown Greencastle lot to be auctioned

July 14, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The .14-acre lot in downtown Greencastle where a three-story building constructed in 1871 once stood will be auctioned at 2 p.m. Monday.

Estimates are the property could bring $50,000 to $100,000, Carole Tracy of Matthew S. Hurley Auction Co. said.

The lot is zoned community commercial, with permitted uses including single-family houses, duplexes, apartments, town houses, retail and service businesses, repair-type businesses, newspapers and printing facilities, and hotels, Greencastle Borough Manager Ken Myers said.

"It just depends on what you want to build," Tracy said.

The brick building at the intersection of Pa. 16 and Washington Street was demolished after partial collapse in a Jan. 26 fire. Two businesses operated from the first floor at the time, while the second and third floors were divided into several apartments.

A firefighter was injured when hit by hot debris, and 13 people from five families safely evacuated the building during the electrical fire. The building, owned by Kevin McDermott of Frederick, Md., was condemned and demolished.

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It's hard to predict how many people a sale of this nature could bring, Tracy said.

The winning bidder must provide $5,000 in cash or certified funds at the time of sale. The balance then must be paid in 30 days, she said.

While no minimum bid has been set, the owner has a right to reject offers deemed too low, Tracy said.

"The owner will be there to confer with Matt (Hurley). They are highly motivated to sell," she said.

"Conococheague: A History of the Greencastle-Antrim Community 1736 to 1971," written by local historian William P. Conrad, details the history of the former building from its early days when it was known as "Town Hall."

The building opened with offices and store rooms on the first floor. The third floor was used by the Knights of Pythias lodge.

"The second floor contained an auditorium which provided the town with its first public assembly room or theater facility," Conrad wrote. "Town Hall's auditorium became the center for community entertainment and cultural activities."

According to Conrad, this included variety shows, performances by visiting repertory companies, musicals, dances, early movies and lectures for about 50 years. Commencements and high school alumni banquets also were held there, he said.

The building was sold in 1913 and converted to the configuration used until the fire.

The lot is listed at www.hurleyauctions.com.

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